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Neo-Nazi Guilty Of Grave Vandalism At Suburban Cemetery

By Anna Deem in News on Dec 4, 2010 6:45PM

Photo by: yooperann
Mariusz Wdziekonski, 24, a neo-Nazi, was convicted of felony vandalism on Friday, after desecrating nearly 70 Jewish graves at Westlawn Cemetery in Norridge, with spray-painted swastikas and other anti-Semitic graffiti. "Hopefully, we can expose with some light--during the season of light--the evils in which this defendant was engaged," said Marc Jacobs, president of Temple Sholom of Chicago, which owns the cemetery in Norridge Park Township, to the Chicago Sun-Times. It only took two hours for a Cook County jury to convict Wdziekonski for vandalizing 67 headstones and memorials with graffiti during a January 2008 vandalism spree.

Although Wdziekonski admitted to being a neo-Nazi, he denied that he vandalized the cemetery, saying instead that he was working and visiting a friend at the time when the graves were vandalized. Cook County sheriff's police officers testified that while Wdziekonski did at first deny that he vandalized the graves, he ultimately admitted to doing it.

"I'm really happy the jury saw him for who he was. It's good to see justice served," said Assistant State's Attorney Lauren Brown, who with Karan Baltazar prosecuted Wdziekonski, to the Sun-Times. Wdziekonski faces a three to seven year prison term, but he will likely serve little or no additional time in prison because he has already been jailed for close to three years since his initial January 31, 2008 arrest. However, his conviction could mean that Wdziekonski, who is a Polish immigrant that has been in the United States since 2004, could ultimately face deportation, authorities said.